Archive for the 'Baseball America' Category

Baseball America – Crawford #2 Among Sally League Prospects

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014


Baseball America is in the process of rolling out their 2014 league top 20 prospect rankings and the South Atlantic League list features SS JP Crawford at #2.

You can see the lists for all of the leagues (with some still to be unveiled) by clicking here.

Crawford, the 16th overall pick in the 2013 draft from Lakewood, California, played two weeks with the BlueClaws at the end of last season and this year, hit .295 with 3 HRs, 19 RBIs and 14 SBs over 60 games with Lakewood. At the All-Star break, he was promoted to Hi-A Clearwater, where he played 63 games and hit .275 with 8 HRs, 29 RBs and 10 SBs.

I’m sure he will also appear on the Florida State League prospect list when it is announced next week.

The Phillies were not represented in the Gulf Coast League top 20 and their lone representative in the NY-Penn League top 20 was Aaron Brown (#18), who played for both Williamsport (.256, 3 HRs, 8 SBs) and Lakewood (.309, 1 HR in 14 games). Brown hit is lone BlueClaws home run in the Labor Day season finale, a 9-8 BlueClaws come-from-behind win in Hagerstown.

On the Phillies Top Ten…

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

A few weeks back, Baseball America released their annual Phillies Top Ten prospect rankings, which you can view here. As we’ve done in the past, we sat down with the Baseball America’s Josh Norris, who made the list, to talk further and deeper about the rankings.

We thank Josh for his help, and you can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

1) First, give us an overview of all that goes into putting a list like this together (10 are out now but you go to 30 in the Prospect Handbook).

First and foremost, a lot of time on the phone with scouts and managers inside and outside of the organization. You need to get a sense of how players are gauged before you can rank them, obviously.

Once all that’s done, I took what I thought were the best-reviewed guys and put them on a white board. Then made notations for categories such as players with defensive questions, players with injury history, players who’d had upper-level experience, and a few others.

With that out of the way, the top guys tend to sift to the top rather easily. The only real wild-card this year, for me, was Miguel Gonzalez, who should be in the big leagues very early, if not on Opening Day.

2) Last year, Jesse Biddle was #1. This year he was overtaken by Maikel Franco. What did Franco do this year to move up?

Quite simply, he raked. He swatted 36 doubles and 31 bombs across two levels, en route to a .320/.356/.569 batting. Evaluators noticed marked improvements in his plate discipline, as shown by his mere 70 strikeouts in 541 plate appearances. Moreover his defense, while not elite by any means, appears to be more than enough to stick at third base, especially given his well above-average arm.


Baseball America Phililes Top Ten

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

top ten logoBaseball America released their annual Phillies top ten prospects list earlier this week. Of the players on the list, seven have played with the BlueClaws and we can expect at least one and probably two of those ten to be back with the BlueClaws in 2014.

The list in full (years with BlueClaws):

  1. 3B Maikel Franco (2011-12)
  2. LHP Jesse Biddle (2011)
  3. SS JP Crawford (2013)
  4. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (–)
  5. SS Roman Quinn (2013)
  6. OF Carlos Tocci (2013)
  7. RHP Ethan Martin (–)
  8. 2B/OF Cesar Hernandez (–)
  9. OF Aaron Altherr (2011-12)
  10. RHP Severino Gonzalez (2013)

We would expect to see Crawford and Tocci at the very least to open the season in Lakewood and we suppose Quinn is possible but would be surprised if he’s not in Clearwater when the season starts on April 3rd.

Quick run-throughs on these 10:

1. Maikel Franco: The third baseman spent 2012 with the BlueClaws as a 19 year old and after a big second half with the BlueClaws that year (.346, 8 HRs, 57 RBIs) into 2013, where he sizzled in Clearwater (.299, 16 HRs, 52 RBIs) and carried that to Reading (.339, 15 HRs, 51 RBIs) after a June promotion. He ranked 8th on this list last year. Franco will certainly be placed on the Phillies 40-man roster and almost certainly will open next year with Triple-A Lehigh.

2. Jesse Biddle: Biddle topped this list last year. With Lakewood in 2011, the Philadelphia native and Phillies 2010 first-round pick, Biddle this year pitched for Double-A Reading, where he hada  3.64 ERA in a hitter-friendly park despite a 5-14 record (Biddle didn’t get any run support in Lakewood either, going 7-8 despite a 2.98 ERA).

3. JP Crawford: The Phillies first-round pick this year made a huge impact, leading the Gulf Coast League in hitting at .345 before a late August promotion to the BlueClaws. He went 11-53 with two stolen bases over 14 games. Crawford turns 19 in January and finishes

4. Miguel Gonzalez: Gonzalez doesn’t fit in with the others on this list as he was a free agent signing after defecting from Cuba last year. He signed a 3-year, $12 million contract and could be in the big league rotation in 2014. He originally agreed to a 6-year, $48 million contract but had issues with his physical, per media reports, so the Phillies and Gonzalez eventually agreed to a smaller deal.

5. Roman Quinn: Quinn, a 2nd round pick of the Phillies in 2011, turned down a scholarhip to Florida State to sign with Philadelphia, and after leading the NY-Penn League in stolen bases in 2012, he joined the BlueClaws in 2013. In 67 games, he hit .238 with 32 stolen bases before unfortunately breaking his wrist in Delmarva on June 25th, which ultimately ended his season. He’ll play winter ball and we’d expect to see him in Clearwater to open 2014.

6. Carlos Tocci: Tocci was the youngest player in BlueClaws history last year when he joined the team on Opening Day at age 17. He didn’t even turn 18 until August 23rd. Tocci held his own, excelling in centerfield. At the plate hit .209 with 26 RBIs in 118 games. We’d expect Tocci, to return to Lakewood in 2014, where he will still be one of the youngest players, if not the youngest, in the South Atlantic League. (As a point of comparison, he is seven months younger than JP Crawford, who began the year playing as a senior in high school, while Tocci was in the Sally League.)

7. Ethan Martin: Martin came over to the Phillies from the Dodgers in 2012. He spent this year with Lehigh Valley, going 11-5, 4.12 and was called up to the Phillies in August, making 15 appearances and going 2-5, 6.08.

8. Cesar Hernandez: Hernandez skipped Lakewood, going from Williamsport in 2010 to Clearwater in 2011. This year, he had an excellent year, hitting .309 with Lehigh Valley over 104 games and hitting .289 in 34 games with the Phillies. He figures to get a shot to make the big league Opening Day roster in 2014.

9. Aaron Altherr: Altherr, a former 9th round pick of the Phillies in 2009, hit .275 with a career-high 12 home runs and 23 stolen bases (in 28 attempts) after hitting .252 with 8 home runs and 25 stolen bases with the BlueClaws in 2012, which was up from .211 which he hit with the BlueClaws in 2011 (over the first half before finishing the year with Williamsport). Altherr has to be placed on the 40-man roster by the Phillies or he will be subjected to the Rule-5 Draft.

10. Severino Gonzalez: Of all the players on this list, the one that was probably the least likely to be here entering the season is Gonzalez. The right-hander joined the BlueClaws and made four starts, going 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA, which included one game in which he retired all 18 hitters he faced. Gonzalez then went to Clearwater, where he had pitched in relief earlier this year as a fill-in (he finished with a 2.02 ERA in 75 Clearwater innings), and made one start with Reading on Labor Day, giving up two runs in 6.2 innings. There aren’t too many players that open one year in extended spring training and then open the next year in Reading, but Gonzalez will have the chance.

We’ll have more with this list over the coming weeks. As in the past, we have tried to interview a Baseball America writer, regarding this list, and that is again the plan.


Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Yesterday, we passed along the annual Baseball America top 100 prospects rankings, a list which contained three former and one future BlueClaw. The future BlueClaw on that list is Roman Quinn, a shortstop who will likely be Lakewood’s Opening Day (April 4th is 43 days away!) SS and lead-off hitter.

In the scouting reports that accompanied the BA rankings, they pass along player ratings along the 20-80 scouting scale, with 80 being the best.

We noted in our write-up of Quinn that he was given a speed rating of 80, which made us curious as to the numbers of 80s handed out. Here are the players on the list who received a rating of 80 in one category.

  • RHP Gerrit Cole, #7 overall, Pirates – 80 fastball
  • 3B Miguel Sano, #8 overall, Twins – 80 power
  • CF Byron Buxton, #10 overall, Twins – 80 speed
  • OF/SS Billy Hamilton, #20 overall, Reds – 80 speed
  • RHP Bruce Rondon, #95 overall, Tigers – 80 fastball
  • SS Roman Quinn, #100 overall, Phillies – 80 speed

That’s the list. Six players. Cole was the #1 overall pick in 2011 by the Pirates. Sano is a top Twins prospect who signed for over $3 million out of the Dominican Republic. Buxton was the #2 overall pick in the 2012 draft. Hamilton stole 155 bases in 2012 between Hi-A and AA. Finally, Rondon is expected to contend for the closer’s role this year with the Tigers.

BlueClaws Connections in Baseball America Top 100

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Baseball America today released their annual Top 100 Prospects list and there are several connections to the BlueClaw. Year listed is their year with the BlueClaws.

23. Travis d’Arnaud, C, 2009 – Now with the Mets, they expect d’Arnaud to make his big league debut at some point in 2013. Could he be the 50th player to go From The Shore to the Show? He’s on the list of possibles, certainly. BA gives him a 60 bat tool and a 60 power tool on the 20-80 scouting scale. He hit .333 with 16 HRs in 67 games with AAA Las Vegas before an injury. He was traded to the Mets as part of a package for RA Dickey in the winter.

27. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, 2010 – The Astros 1B prospect, who was acquired in 2011 as part of the deal that sent Hunter Pence to the Phillies, hit .284 with 21 home runs with AA Corpus Christi last year. BA gives him a 65 bat with 60 power and an ETA of 2014.

89. Jesse Biddle, LHP, 2011 – Biddle has put together back-to-back dynamite campaigns in his first two full seasons, including 10-6, 3.22 year in 2012 with Clearwater in which he struck out 151 hitters in 142.2 innings. He’s just 21, and BA gives him steady ratings across the board, ranging from 50-60 in fastball, curveball, command, change-up, and control. He’ll get tested this year moving to AA Reading and a hitter-friendly FirstEnergy Stadium.

100. Roman Quinn, SS, 2013 – Quinn is one of just a few players on this list who have not yet played in a full-season league. BA gives him an 80 speed (best possible), and he is one of just a few players to receive an 80 in any category (more on this later). Last year was his first as a switch-hitter and a shortstop, and Quinn hit .281 and led the NYPL with 30 stolen bases. He’ll likely be Lakewood’s shortstop and leadoff hitter in 2013.

Links: Full List, Scouting Reports, Helpful Tidbits.

The Handbook

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Every year, Baseball America puts out what is likely the most comprehensive look at prospects every year, through their Baseball America Prospect Handbook, which arrived in the mail late last week.

Baseball America has previously released their Top Ten prospects in each organization (Phillies here) and we did a Q&A with their Phillies writer, Matt Forman (here).

Below the fold, however, you can see 11-30. We’ve put their 2012 finishing level in parentheses. Many of those on this list could be BlueClaws in 2013.



BA Phillies Top Ten Q&A

Monday, December 31st, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, Baseball America released their annual Phillies Top Ten prospect rankings. As we’ve done in years past, we went deeper into those rankings by talking to Matt Forman, the Baseball America writer who compiled them.

As a refresher, 2011 BlueClaws LHP Jesse Biddle topped the list, and likely 2013 BlueClaws SS Roman Quinn was second on the list.

You can follow Matt on Twitter here. Onto the Q&A:

Q: What were the biggest strides Jesse Biddle made over the past season?

Jesse Biddle, the Phillies’ No. 1 prospect entering 2013, has had an incremental climb throughout his young professional career. Really, and the Phillies’ brass has said this multiple times, he has done everything — and more — that’s been asked of him since his signed as their first-round pick in 2010. Last year, Biddle took significant strides in a number of areas. In terms of stuff, Biddle better pitched to both sides of the plate with his fastball. His changeup developed into a swing-and-miss offering. He gained consistency with his curveball, especially in controlling its knee-buckling depth. He also added a slider and a two-seam fastball to his arsenal. All the while, in terms of statistics, Biddle cut his walk rate, improved his whiff rate and bettered his groundball-to-flyball ratio — all positive indicators. When the stats and stuff align, that’s a good sign for any pitching prospect. If Biddle continues progressing the way he has, he could out-perform his projected mid-rotation starter upside.

Q: Roman Quinn ranked #2 on the list and in the write-up you said he was a legit 80-speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. In general, how rare is that 80 designation?

Extremely rare — 80-grade tools are not offered liberally. The 20-80 scouting scale is based on the mathematical normal distribution curve, where 50 is Major League average and every 10-point differential falls one standard deviation from the mean. By literal definition, then, Roman Quinn’s speed should roughly rate among the top 0.1 percent of players — but the system isn’t quite that scientific. That is, probably between 15 and 20 percent of big leaguers have “average” or 50-grade speed, because players slow down (age, size) and speed isn’t as big a part of the game as it once was, though that’s changing. Regardless, Quinn is on the short list of the fastest players in the minor leagues — arguably the fastest player not named Billy Hamilton, of Cincinnati’s system. Quinn’s speed is game-changing, impacting play in the field, at the plate and on the bases.

Q: Quinn was listed in the middle of the pack in the 2012 ratings. What stood out about his 2012 performance and were you surprised about his jump?

I’d say I was somewhat surprised by Quinn’s jump, but not totally shocked. Quinn barely missed the Top 10 last year, coming in at No. 11 on the pre-2012 list after being selected in the second round of the draft, and that ranking was at least partially influenced by the fact that he signed late and made his professional debut in instructional league, so we were largely relying on his amateur reports. In instructs, he impressed observers with his first-step quickness, but he had just committed to switch-hitting and playing shortstop full-time. Really, that’s what stood out about his 2012 performance — his development on the infield dirt, where scouts seem encouraged he’ll be able to stay, and his improvement hitting left-handed. He’s got a plus arm and good actions at short, and he could be a solid-average hitter from both sides.

To your original question: Quinn was the New York-Penn League’s No. 3 prospect, and when I started the reporting/researching process for this list, I expected him to fall somewhere in the middle of Top 10. But quickly, Quinn received consideration for the list’s No. 1 spot, and it wasn’t necessarily an easy decision to go with Biddle over Quinn. Ultimately, Quinn has a higher ceiling, but Biddle is the safer bet to reach his ceiling after spending his age-20 season pitching for high Class A Clearwater.

Q: Jonathan Pettibone was here in Lakewood in 2010 on a staff that had Brody Colvin, Jarred Cosart, Trevor May, and Julio Rodriguez and he always seemed to get lost in the shuffle. Obviously he had a tremendous season and beat all of those guys to Triple-A (save Cosart who was an injury fill-in there with Houston). Did his move and year surprise people and what’s his projection going forward?

You’re right about Jonathan Pettibone being overlooked among the “Baby Aces” rotation that pitched in Lakewood in 2010 and Clearwater for half of 2011. That’s likely because Pettibone doesn’t have (and didn’t have) the pure stuff of Colvin, Cosart and May, and he hasn’t posted (and didn’t post) the outrageous strikeout totals of Rodriguez. But Pettibone has the best pitchability among that group, and that’s why he has progressed more quickly through the minor leagues.

I’d say Pettibone’s 2012 was marginally unexpected, at least in the sense that I didn’t anticipate he’d make seven starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year, and I don’t think many others would’ve made that prediction. But Pettibone entered the year as the system’s No. 4 prospect, and he’ll enter next year occupying the same spot. So the more surprising jump happened two seasons ago, but it was encouraging to see him have another strong season.

Pettibone’s projection: a mid-rotation, innings-eater, probably as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter. Some scouts still worry about his lack of a swing-and-miss pitch. For his solid stuff and advanced command/control, Pettibone has never missed many bats, though his strikeout rate bumped up at Lehigh Valley. That said, Pettibone likely will be given a chance to compete for the Phillies’ fifth starter spot in spring training, and either way he could see time in Philadelphia at some point in 2013.

There’s a lot more below the fold…


Former BlueClaws Recognized By Baseball America

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Several former BlueClaws that are currently in other organizations were recognized by Baseball America in their annual “Top 10 Prospects” lists (link here) for various organizations.

Blue Jays
#1. Travis d’Arnaud (2009) – d’Arnaud helped the BlueClaws win their second South Atlantic League title (in 2009), and was traded to the Blue Jays after the season as part of the deal that brought Roy Halladay to the Phillies. d’Arnaud finished his third season with the Blue Jays and playing in AAA Las Vegas, he hit .333 with 16 HRs and 52 RBIs before an unfortunate knee injury (torn PCL) in late June ended his season. He’ll be healthy for spring training and will almost certainly make his big league debut at some point in 2013. GM Alex Anthopoulos said the following:

“We just want to see him get back, hopefully have a good spring training, go down to the minor leagues, get his swing back and we’ll worry about him hopefully when he’s having a great year down there and he can make our decision hard.”

The other former BlueClaw with Toronto, d’Arnaud’s 2009 teammate Anthony Gose, is obviously no longer considered a prospect after playing 56 games with the Blue Jays this year.

#2 Jonathan Singleton (2010) – Singleton joined the BlueClaws from extended spring training in May of 2010 and hit 14 home runs and drove in 77 runs in helping the BlueClaws win their second straight title. He was traded to the Astros in July of 2011 as part of the deal that brought Hunter Pence to Philadelphia. This past year, he hit .284 with 21 home runs and 79 RBIs with Double-A Corpus Christi. He had a great Arizona Fall League as well and will likely start 2013 in Triple-A and make his big league debut at some point later in the season.

Note that the only player ranked ahead of Singleton on the Astros list was SS Carlos Correa, who was the #1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. BA did note they consider Singleton the best first base prospect in the minors. The other noteworthy thing for Singleton is that with the Astros moving to the American League, there are potential at bats as a DH for him (or someone else) that weren’t there last year.

#7 Jarred Cosart (2010) – Cosart made 14 starts, going 7-3, 2.79, with the BlueClaws in 2010. He was then traded to the Astrros, with Singleton, in 2011 as part of the Hunter Pence trade. Last year, Cosart, a native of League City, Texas (just 25 miles from Minute Maid Park), pitched for both AA Corpus Christi (5-5, 3.52) and AAA Oklahoma City (1-2, 2.60). He’ll open 2013 in the starting rotation at Oklahoma City and is another that could debut in the big leagues this year.

BA notes that while he is a starter for now, some think he will end up a closer at some point in the future.

Misc Notes…All three of these players were ranked in the Baseball America Top 50 (overall) entering the 2012 season (click here)…d’Arnaud and Singleton were both top 25 in BA’s mid-season list this year (here)…We were a little surprised that fellow 2010 BlueClaw Jonathan Villar didn’t make the Astros top ten. Villar hit .261 in Double-A this year adding 39 stolen bases and just turned 21. I’m sure he’s in the top 15, but those aren’t revealed until the Prospect Handbook comes out in late January.

If you’re wondering, the Phillies list is slated to be revealed on Monday, December 17th.

Baseball America GCL Top 20

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Baseball America released their Gulf Coast League Top 20 prospects list yesterday, a list that included one Phillies p

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layer, and potential future BlueClaw – OF Carlos Tocci, who ranked 6th.

Tocci was 16 for most of the summer and didn’t turn 17 until August 23rd, but more than held his own, hitting .278 in 97 at bats and added nine stolen bases in 38 games.

Most likely, we would think he goes to Williamsport in 2013 and then would be with the BlueClaws as an 18-year old in 2014, but remember – Domingo Santana opened the 2010 season with Lakewood as a 17-year old in 2010, so you never know (that said, the BlueClaws 2013 outfield could be crowded entering the year, as it’s been the last couple of seasons). Either way, Tocci’s future is bright and we’ll see him in Lakewood at some point in the next few years.

Update: For comparison’s sake, the players ranked ahead of Tocci –

  • 1. Twins OF Byron Buxton – 2nd overall pick, 2012
  • 2. Astros SS Carlos Correa – 1st overall pick, 2012
  • 3. Blue Jays OF DJ Davis – 17th overall pick, 2012
  • 4. Astros OF Rio Ruiz – 4th round pick, 2012
  • 5. Pirates C Wyatt Mathieson – 2nd round pick, 2012


The Handbook Has Arrived

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

handbookblogThis is always one of the books I am most eager-to-open each year – the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, which you can order online through Baseball America. They release their top ten prospects each year and in the fall we did a Q&A with Matt Forman, who handed the Phillies list. Today, however, we go from 1-10, all the way up to 30.

11-20: 11 – Roman Quinn, SS (2nd round pick in 2011); 12 – Lisalberto Bonilla, RHP (2011 BlueClaw); 13 – Carlos Tocci, OF (16 year old signed with Phillies on August 23rd, his birthday); 14 – Cesar Hernandez, 2B (Played last year with Clearwater after skipping Lakewood); 15 – Aaron Altherr, OF (split last year between Lakewood and Williamsport and could be back with the BlueClaws); 16 – Ervis Manzanillo, LHP (2011 BlueClaw); 17 – Julio Rodriguez, RHP (2010 BlueClaw heads to Reading this year); 18 – Kyrell Hudson (3rd round pick in 2009 could open with Lakewood this year); 19 – Harold Garcia, 2B (2009 BlueClaw missed most of last year with torn ACL but could open this year with Lehigh Valley); 20 – Larry Greene, OF (Phillies supplemental first-round pick in 2011).

21-30: 21 – Perci Garner, RHP (2nd round pick in 2010 likely joins Lakewood this year); 22 – Austin Hyatt, RHP (2009 BlueClaw heads to Lehigh Valley this year); 23 – Mitchell Walding, SS (Phillies 5th round pick in 2011); 24 – Leandro Castro, OF (2009-10 BlueClaw); 25 – Joe Savery, LHP (made Phillies debut in September, never played here); 26 – Austin Wright, LHP (2011 8th round pick went 1-2, 2.67 in seven BlueClaws starts); 27 – Zach Collier, OF (played here in 2009 and 11); 28 – JC Ramirez, RHP (acquired in Cliff Lee trade from Seattle); 29 – Adam Morgan, LHP (3rd round pick in 2011 from Alabama went 3-3, 2.01 with Williamsport); 30 – Michael Schwimer, RHP (made Phillies debut in September).

(Yes, my desk is a little messy. Yes, that’s my Atlantic-10 Tournament pamphlet – Go Fordham! Yes, that’s my Big Brown bobblehead doll).

1-2 in 3 Organizations

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

oneinthreefullFormer BlueClaws are ranked 1-2 in three different organizations among the recent Baseball America prospect lists released over the last few weeks.

We talked about the Phillies top ten prospects list awhile back with former BlueClaws in the one-through-four slots (Trevor May, Jesse Biddle, Sebastian Valle, and Jonathan Pettibone). May and Pettibone were in the BlueClaws 2010 championship rotation with Valle their catcher. Biddle, of course, was here this year. You can read more about those guys at the link.

The other two organizations where the BlueClaws go 1-2 are recent Phillies trading partners Houston and Toronto.

Houston (click here)
1. 1B Jonathan Singleton: Sent to Houston in the Hunter Pence trade in July, Singleton hit .290-14-77 with the BlueClaws in 2010, including a mammoth home run in his first at bat with the team, May 13th in Greenville. After the trade, Singleton was sent to Hi-A Lancaster (he was with Clearwater) and hit .333 with 4 HRs in 129 at bats. Baseball America says he is the best first base prospect in the minors.

2. RHP Jarred Cosart: Also in the Hunter Pence trade in July, Cosart went 7-3, 3.79 with Lakewood in 2010, pitching in the first half before an injury cost him the second half of the season. Cosart, unlike Singleton, was bumped straight up to Double-A Corpus Christi after the trade. He went 1-2, 4.79 in seven starts (though he did allow one earned run or less in five of those seven starts) and will likely go back there to open the 2012 campaign.

Toronto (click here)
1. C Travis d’Arnaud: He was traded to the Jays in the Roy Halladay in December of 2009. This year, he anchored the championship Eastern League Jays affiliate in New Hampshire, hitting .311-21-78 and was the league MVP. He hit 13 home runs and drove in 71 runs with the championship BlueClaws in 2009 under Dusty Wathan. d’Arnaud, who saw his brother Chase make his big league debut this year with Pittsburgh, is expected to go to Triple-A Las Vegas and could make his big league debut later in the season.

2. CF Anthony Gose: Gose has led his league in steals each of the last three years (including a franchise record 76 with the BlueClaws in 2009). This year, he was d’Arnaud’s teammate on the championship New Hampshire club. Gose stole 70 bases this year and hit 16 home runs, after hitting nine in his first three pro seasons. He’ll join d’Arnaud in Las Vegas this summer. He was actually sent to Houston in the Roy Oswalt deal in 2010 but was immediately flipped to Toronto for Brett Wallace. Toronto reportedly wanted him in the Halladay deal but the Phillies held onto him.

And that’s how you 1-2 in 3 organizations.

A few former BlueClaws (OF Michael Taylor and IF Adrian Cardenas) could appear on the Athletics top-ten list, which will be released on January 25th, though that list will not include the prospects the A’s have received this offseason in trading away Gio Gonzalez (Nationals), Andrew Bailey (Red Sox) and Trevor Cahill (Diamondbacks).

The Houston BlueClaws

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

lakewoodastrosMaybe you’ll be getting an Astros hat in a few years. Four of the Astros top six prospects per Baseball America are former BlueClaws, which makes sense as the teams have made big deadline deals in each of the past two seasons.

Here is the full story from Baseball America.

1. Jonathan Singleton (2010): Singleton joined the BlueClaws and promptly homered in his first at bat (which is the May 13th nugget on your BlueClaws calendar), and would go on to hit 14 last year as Lakewood won the SAL title. This year, he hit a combined 13 HRs as a 19 year-old between Clearwater and Lancaster (where he also hit .333 after the July 29th trade). BA says he is the best 1B prospect in the minors and could be a .300-30 HR guy in the big leagues.

2. Jarred Cosart (2010): Cosart’s 2010 with the BlueClaws was interrupted due to a late-June injury but not before he went 7-3 and fanned 77 in 71 innings. This year, he went 9-8, 3.92 with Clearwater and got to play in the Futures Game that he missed the year before due to the injury. After the trade, he went straight to Double-A with Houston at 21 and went 1-2, 4.71. He and Singleton will probably be reunited there this year.

4. Jonathan Villar (2010): Villar hit .272 with 38 steals with Lakewood last year before being traded in the Roy Oswalt trade (on Goonies Night). This year, he hit .238 split between Lcancaster and AA Corpus Christi. BA calls him the second toolsiest shortstop in the minors.

6. Domingo Santana (2010-11): Santana played half of last year with Lakewood and then was here this year through August 16th, when he was named as the player-to-be-named later in the Pence trade. With Lakewood, he hit seven HRs in 350 ABs and hit .269 this year. After the deal he went to Lexington where in 68 at bats, he hit 5 HRs and .382! Lancaster, their Hi-A spot, is considered the best hitters park in the minors.

Josh Zeid, with Lakewood in 2010 and also in the Pence trade this summer, wasn’t listed here but is likely in the 11-20 spot. The Prospect Handbook, which comes out in January, goes 30 deep per team.

Our pal Eric Jarinko, the media guru for Greenville, Tweeted a link to this article last night about the limits on draft spending in the new CBA and how it could impact teams trying to sign players “over slot” late in the draft. This article focused on Greenville OF Brandon Jacobs, who had a scholarship to play football at Auburn, but his case isn’t unique. Domonic Brown had a scholarship to play football at Miami before signing with the Phillies in 2006.

From the article (Providence Journal):

According to the collective bargaining agreement unveiled at a joint press conference in New York on Tuesday, teams will be penalized severely if the aggregate money they pay draft picks — their “signing bonus pool” — exceeds their assigned value.

A team that exceeds the pool by up to 5 percent will be taxed 75 percent of the overage. A team that exceeds the pool by 5-10 percent will be taxed 75 percent of the overage and lose a first-round pick. A team that exceeds the pool by 10-15 percent will be taxed 100 percent of the overage and lose a first- and second-round pick. A team that exceeds the pool by 15 percent or more will be taxed 100 percent of the overage and lose first-round picks in back-to-back drafts.

The new agreement will not, in any way, limit the amount of money teams can pay individual players. But every dollar spent on a tough-to-sign player will take away from the dollars available to sign other tough-to-sign players, effectively limiting the amount of talent each team can draft.

It will be worth following during the next draft and sign cycle – from June through mid-August.

We’ll have an interview with new BC manager Mickey Morandini later today.

Baseball America Phillies Top Ten

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Baseball America released their annual Phillies top ten prospects list this morning with nine of the players on the list having played with the BlueClaws at one point in their careers and six of them having won championships with the BlueClaws.

1. Trevor May (2009-10): May won two titles with Lakewood, was named the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2011 when he fanned 208 hitters with Clearwater.

2. Jesse Biddle (2011): The Phillies first round pick in 2010 had the best ERA in the Sally League in the 2nd half of this season and finished 7-8, 2.98 with 124 strikeouts in 133 innings.

3. Sebastian Valle (2009-10): Played the first half of 2009 with Lakewood and returned for the playoffs but had a starring role in 2010, including hitting the game-winning home run in the championship clincher. This year, Valle hit .284 with 5 home runs with Clearwater.

4. Jonathan Pettibone (2010): He had a 2.3 ERA with Lakewood from mid-June on last year as one of their steadiest pitchers on the championship team. This year with Clearwater, Pettibone picked up where he left off, pitching to a 2.96 ERA despite a 10-11 record.

5. Phillippe Aumont: Aumont was acquired in the December, 2009 Cliff Lee trade. He had a 2.7 ERA splitting the season between Reading and Lehigh Valley and will have a chance to make the big league bullpen out of spring training.

6. Freddy Galvis (2008): The slick-fielding shortstop had his best offensive season this year, hitting .273 with Reading and .298 with Lehigh Valley. He will probably start 2011 in Lehigh Valley again but with Jimmy Rollins a free agent, he would be considered a top internal candidate if Rollins departs.

7. Justin De Fratus (2009): De Fratus has blossomed since moving full-time to the bullpen in the last two years and made his big league debut in September. He went from Clearwater to Reading in 2010 and Reading to Lehigh Valley in 2011. He’ll have every chance to be in the Phillies Opening Day bullpen next year.

8. Brody Colvin (2010): Colvin thrived with Lakewood in 2010, pitching to a 3.39 ERA (low 2s after mid-May) but had a 4.71 ERA with Clearwater this year. He was passed on this list by May and Pettibone from their placing last year.

9. Jiwan James (2010): Lakewood’s every-day centerfielder on the 2010 championship team, James went to Clearwater this year and had a solid season, hitting .268 with 31 stolen bases. He’ll go to Reading in 2012.

10. Maikel Franco (2011): Just 18 for most of the season, Franco played with Williamsport and joined the BlueClaws for three weeks in August.

Domonic Brown had been the top prospect each of the last three years, but is no longer eligible. Carlos Carrasco was the top prospect on this list the two years before that.

Sally League Top 20 With Two BlueClaws

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

biddlesantanafullBaseball America released their annual look at the top 20 prospects in the South Atlantic League and two BlueClaws are featured: #6 Jesse Biddle and #18 Domingo Santana (traded to Houston).

Click here for the full list from Baseball America.

Biddle, who we interviewed here last week, went 7-8, 2.98 but had the best ERA in the league (1.97) during the second half of the season. Biddle, a first round pick in 2010, was relatively happy with his year.

“I think it went alright. It didn’t start out too well but I guess I am moderately happy with my second half…There are a lot of things I need to work on like command of the fastball and change-up, picking off runners, fielding and other things that will make you a better pitcher. I got a lot better but I know I need to keep getting better and I’m excited for that chance.”

Santana split the year between Lakewood and Lexington, where he went in August after the July 29th trade that brought the Phillies Hunter Pence (Santana was the player-to-be-named-later). He hit .287-12-53 on the season, but .382-5-21 in just 17 games with Lexington.

He opened 2010 with Lakewood as a 17 year old, the youngest player, by more than a full year, in BlueClaws history and returned to Lakewood for 2011.

Bryce Harper – Manny Machado – Jurickson Profar – Jameson Taillon – Christian Yelich went 1-2-3-4-5, which seems about right, though the BlueClaws never saw Machado (injured).

There are two players on this list who were drafted out of college (#12 Kyle Parker of Asheville, a 1st round pick from Clemson and #16 Bryce Brentz of Greenville, a supplemental first-round pick from Middle Tennessee State).

Here are last year’s rankings when the BlueClaws had 6 out of 20 and 4 out of 8.